Friday, 28 October 2022

Planet Sandgaard!

CAST have today put out the notes from a conference call with Thomas Sandgaard aimed at clearing up a number of glaringly obvious questions about the direction of the club in recent months given the change in strategy from promotion to financial break-even. The verbatim can be read here -

The responses given are, frankly, insulting. Unbelievable in places, obvious waffle in others, largely patronising, it does nothing to smooth the waters as was the intention of CAST. Thomas Sandgaard doesn't get CAST in the same way he refuses to seek advice from those who have a previous track record of having achieved many of the things he is failing to do. He must, by now, have realised that football isn't as easy as he initially told it was but stubbornly refuses to change.

Sandgaard maintains that his ambitions for promotion haven't changed but fails to justify that. Instead he focuses on breaking even and repeats the mantra of "increasing revenue significantly" but declines the invite to provide any detail on how that will be achieved. He actually goes further by acknowledging he can't get to break even by cost cutting (agreed) and also discounts any "imminent player sales." Laughably, he tells us that "we won't do deals (on Academy players ) that are less than optimal," forgetting that he did just that with Burstow. You have to wonder if this is a another sound-bite aimed at potential Leaburn suitors, so he might get a few hundred grand more come January?

He went on to say he wasn't interested in "external investment" which leaves everyone wondering what his grand plan is? He tells us he has "other sources of income he could leverage" but again declines to enlighten us. Hopefully this will all become apparent before the January transfer window and I am sure the rest of the footballing world will be watching with intense interest to see what they can learn. I am pretty sure it won't be achieved by moving our prices back £4 to the most expensive in League One.

Questioned about the playing squad, we got a load more guff that will have supporters spitting feathers. He believes the current squad is better than last season and claims he has increased the budget! He is entitled to his opinion of course on the payers but I don't believe for a second that we are spending more than last season. Indeed, he has already told us that break-even would see the budget trimmed in each of the next two seasons (I recall a figure of £400k per season being mentioned). Recruiting a rookie League Two managers and four League Two players is all about cutting wages, not increasing budgets. We moved on the most experienced and biggest earners last year (eg Gunter, Pearce, Watson, Matthews, Purrington, Souare) and shortened the squad size in the process.

In looking ahead to the January window he was quick to say that we haven't utilised so many loan players - so that's clearly where his head will be at - and indeed it was the poorly negotiated deal he tried to do for Bonne at ten to midnight on deadline day. Remember too, we haven't been paying for the likes of Famewo, Lee, Arter and Co this year either. 

He also had the audacity to try and spin the striker situation. He seems to believe that Chuks Aneke's return from injury somehow strengthens our options from last year and tells us Conor Washington wasn't a pressing player or a goalscorer. I was critical of Washington's goalscoring but he would have scored more at the club than not being here - he certainly had more pace than we are left with and he made goals as well as scored them. He has scored three for Rotherham in the Championship so far - have Stockley and Aneke managed three between them yet? Plenty of time, obviously, and he also thinks that we have found what has been causing Aneke's long list of injuries. I can almost see poor Chuks limping off on Saturday for another couple of months just to prove him wrong on that too. 

Rightly, he was also asked about the culture at the club on the non-playing side. There has been a lot of change and more staff are speaking out about the treatment they have received working at the club. Bullying is a recurring theme and even today another employee looks ready to speak out. Sandgaard's unsatisfactory response was "you don't need to worry about that, just turn up and cheer the team!" Maybe that hit a nerve but the issue won't go away with wishful thinking. 

'Culture eats strategy for breakfast' is a business truism that Sandgaard is no doubt aware of, even if he doesn't believe or care about it. The organisation of the club has been a mess since he took-over. Steadfastly refusing to appoint a football-experienced Chief Executive was his first big mistake but he has also failed to build a senior management team around him. Everyone he has brought in has left in quick fashion and he has even found himself reliant upon his partner to do some of the heavy lifting when it's widely believed she had no visa to do so. 

Sorry Thomas, but this doesn't wash. We all want you to be successful but your refusal to address your shortcomings have put you in the situation you find yourself. The change of strategy is just that - a change of strategy. You aren't going to convince anyone that promotion ambitions still burn brightly when breaking-even is now your declared priority. You have trimmed the squad, cut the playing budget, left the side dangerously unbalanced and don't have a logical plan even for break-even.

As I said back in September, you cannot achieve break-even in two years (I note you told CAST now that it might be two-an-a-half) and certainly without players sales which would be counter-productive in terms of promotion or trying to make supporting Charlton Athletic successful or more appealing. Your losses will not improve and given that the assets you hold are limited, I expect you are actively looking to pass the responsibility onto someone else. Hopefully they will be able to get off to a flyer by avoiding the traps you have fallen into and have been unable to acknowledge properly or to climb out of.


  1. Sandgaard just sell the god dam club your not wanted as our owner anyone who supports this clown supports bullying

  2. You have said it all and want to share to F/B how?

  3. He may have been born Danish, but he has become totally American. Every time he opens his mouth bullshit comes out.

  4. Wrong club wrong fanbase go buy wigan

  5. With regard to cultural issues, I have watched the comings and goings at the club with morbid fascination.

    Garner is a man who should have more contact with the owner than most and Garner seems to me to be a man suffering from a wide range of negative emotions at the moment. Words such as fear, uncertainty and anger come to mind.

    When Garner was appointed, I would assume that he was given a target of something like a top 6 finish and that he will have been given financial assurances in order to achieve that. At the moment he states that he doesn't even know whether his January budget is any larger than the one that he received in the Summer.

    Being manager of CAFC may be a poisoned chalice.It is not clear why Lee Bowyer left but moving to Birmingham with the situation which existed at Birmingham at that time raises a lot of questions. I understand that Jackson had a points per game total that only Mike Bailey (at least 40 years ago) could rival. His sacking did the club no credit.

    In order to get out of League 1 you need:
    1. The right players ( not the best players in the division but the most effective/suitable players)

    2 The right playing system (not the 3-4-3 system that the top Premier League teams use but the system that the type of players who can gain promotion from League 1 can play in)

    3 A sizeable chunk of luck in a number of areas.

    4. An owner who is aware that because there are more uncontrolled variable in play in a football club than in most other businesses, one cannot necessarily expect deterministic outcomes from one's actions.


Go on, you know you want to....